Hi! I am a Dutch artist and aspiring scientific glassblower. My aim is to create kinetic glasswork. This digital space is my visual journal of progress.
There is a lot to be learned.
As Bernard Bolas describes in A Handbook of Laboratory Glass-Blowing “Until the student can turn a tube steadily without thinking about it, real progress in glassblowing is impossible”.
NAVIGATION INSTRUCTIONS_ desktop hover mouse over sections to zoom in
NAVIGATION INSTRUCTIONS_ mobile devices tap on sections to zoom in
This is a timeline, navigate by scrolling up and down.
View my glass studies recent to GROUND 0 by scrolling down.
THIS PROGRESS IS MADE POSSIBLE BY:
Starting grant ‘Research Scientific Glassblowing’
Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie
Stipendium for Emerging Artists 2020-2021
“Beginning with the Woodroffe Brothers in the 1850’s, it seems that no self-respecting troupe would appear without an engine … or two. … “
– Banhu Dunham, Contemporary Lampworking volume I.
Functional glass steam engines were the stars of the 19th-century itinerant glassworker show. The sense of miraculous leaps taken by the natural sciences and technology in the 19th century became enhanced by the beauty of the machines’ glass art.These dazzling devices fascinated the audience. They were both a feat of glass making and a method of demonstrating how steam power functioned.
Glass workers heavily promoted the engines in their advertisements and fanciful names like Fairy Queen, Excelsior, Columbia and the Crystal Gem. They held poetry competitions and presented prizes to the bard who submitted the best verse.
The Glass Steam Engine
The world in its wisdom, has long stood aghast,
Supposing each step in its progress the last,
But still ’tis advancing by steady degrees,
‘Till we ask in amazement, when will wonders cease?
When will wonders cease, we may justly enquire,
When we see a Glass Engine, complete and entire,
In fine working order, from boiler to beam,
And working away under full head of steam.
Mechanics, and artisans, here may engage,
To study this exquisite work of the age,
Surpassing all others in wonder and skill,
And as ages roll by, ’twill a wonder be still.
An Engine of Glass! why, that can never be,
E’en in this wond’rous age of the world’s history,
Incredulity starts, in most utter surprise,
We can hardly believe the plain sight of our eyes;
But there it now stands in its pearly array,
The greatest achievement of this latter day,
Its parts all adjusted, by magical skill,
With all the minutia of whistle and bell.
Its joints, and its gearings, are finished with care,
No friction occurs, and not even a jar;
And when the hot steam is sent coursing its veins,
Like a war horse it pants to break loose from the reins.
An engine, transparent, instructive, and new,
Like a real thing of life with its vitals in view,
The steam from the boilers sends life to the heart,
And life it goes bounding throughout every part.
Then, hail to the progress of science and skill,
From whose storehouse such wonders are forthcoming still;
The palm we will render with pleasure and hope,
To this scientific Bohemian Troupe
– William Somers